A story about the tv show, Cupid
by Steve 0yervidez

            "The dream is always the same, even though it never sticks with me... not the details anyway..."

            A woman's voice spoke against a dark, infinite night. Then suddenly, there were strange colors, dim in the blackness, moving and twisting. The voice continued to recount the dream.

            "We're traveling, hurtling through this endless vacuum. And then, there are stars. My heart beats faster as they pass. I can feel them, even without my body. Like they're the only things left..."

            Suddenly points of light appear in that vast darkness, some shifting closer, passing by on either side.

            "Hurtling through space. Not an unexpected dream, considering. But somehow... it's like I'm holding my breath, or waiting to breathe, waiting for the touch of air, of open sky, like something I've never felt. I can't feel my body anymore. But I know I'm moving... And then it appears, beautiful in the distance..."

            Suddenly a pinpoint of extremely bright, distant light flares into existence. Stars are still racing past nearby, but the light is further away, yet getting closer.

            "It's this pure, incredible light. The kind of light that fills every corner of your soul. Lifting you, sending you soaring across the stars. As that gorgeous light gets closer, I wonder for a second if I'm dying, if reaching it would be the end. But then I realize, maybe reaching it would be when my life would finally be beginning..."

            The stationary light suddenly blossomed brighter for a brief moment, set against the dark star filled sky. And then it started to shift sideways, moving quickly amongst the falling stars, trailing a tail behind it like a comet.

            "It's only then that the light starts moving. And I understand I'm not going towards it, it is coming towards me. And I'm afraid... Sparks start falling, obscuring the stars..."

            Yellow points of sparks fell even closer than the passing stars, growing thick, blocking out everything. The distant bright light is suddenly coming head on, racing past the sparks, knocking them aside, before it suddenly moves aside and out of sight.

            "And then... Fireworks."

            The stars stop moving, going still against the backdrop of space. Then in the void before them, huge, colorful explosions suddenly burst to life, crisscrossing the starry night sky, blossoming in brilliant colors like flowers.

            "Something white, soft... twists and flutters past my sight. But it's too close. I can't see what it is. And for a moment... I feel at peace. But then the fireworks fade, turning into plain, ordinary lights. Lights I see everyday."

            Ceiling lights flickered on across an arching, smoothly fitted, metal ceiling, gently recessed within the metal to give a clean, efficient glow. Across the room, a pair of computer screens powered up, accompanied by a low, comforting hum of energy from high tech machinery. More displays glowed brighter and came to life. The sequence seemed almost like a living being waking up. The activity moved in a wave along the walls of the circular room, blinking, system after system switching on.
            Between two screens, a smooth rectangular recess was fronted with glass, revealing only darkness. And then slowly, a light grew in the shadows within, revealing an upright mattress, covered with a swirl of sheets, a pillow, and the slender, beautiful figure of a woman. As the light slowly grew around the edge of the mattress, her shape became more defined beneath the sheets, lying unconcerned against the vertical mattress.

            "And then the dream is gone, and in the end I have to let it go. And face the day..."

            In the wall nearby, suddenly a metal panel slid smoothly upward, a mechanical bar swinging out with clothing, a towel.

            "... and all the reality that implies."

            Within the recess, the woman looked like she was floating in water, the black tresses of her hair waving effortless through the air beside her serene, sleeping face was resting comfortably, floating black against her ivory skin. Her body shifted under the vertical sheets, still asleep. The entire bed was still upright within the recess, standing on its end. But the woman lay perfectly flat against it, not falling downward at all.
            Across the room, a red light blinked rapidly, and yet another small recess slid aside to reveal a waiting cup, that was quickly filled with a dark, black liquid, warm steam rising.
            Beside the rectangular glass recess across the room, one of the monitor screens began to blink as well, words flashing across its surface. WAKE UP INITIALIZING. FIELD MATCHING IN PROGRESS.
            Within the recess, the woman's floating shape... almost imperceptibly began to move. Everything began to fall gently sideways onto her sleeping form, as if getting heavier. Her hair fell soft beside her face. The sheets that had been loosely nestled around her body seemed to cling more carefully, sideways against her upright form.
            The screen display in the wall beside her suddenly glowed green, switching to form the word MATCHED. There was a soft hiss, and the glass recess that enclosed the mattress slid aside, disappearing into the wall.

            "Sometimes it's hard to wake up. To come back to real life..."

            Mechanical motors whirred quietly behind the upright mattress, the woman still resting effortlessly against it as if it were perfectly normal. Then the mattress began to move. The displayed on the wall beside the recess changed again to LEVELING. Slowly the mattress was sliding out, the bottom edge moving faster than the top, so that the angle of the mattress gently changed from vertical to horizontal as it entered into the room. The screen kept track, numbers scrolling down, an image of the bed shifting angles until it started to become parallel to the floor below, settling, until finally...
            FIELDS ALIGNED.
            There was a comfortable sigh from the woman's lips. Her eyes fluttered open and she woke up, her brown irises staring up at the ceiling above her. Then rom the ceiling came a computer voice, speaking in a strangely comforting, yet androgynous voice.
            "Good morning, Dr. Allem..."
            Claire Allen rose out of bed, still trying to wake up. Once she left the mattress, it slid back, going quietly vertical again, moving into the recess.
            "It's not Allem, it's Allen." she corrected for what seemed the hundredth time.
            "Yes, Dr. Allem..."
            She reached out without looking, grabbing the cup of coffee in the small wall alcove without thought as she passed, done out of habit. She yawned, speaking to the air.
            "Shower, please."
            The glass recess behind her changed again, the mattress sliding away and completely sealed off as it was replaced by tile walls on all the other three sides. Nozzles open up above, and a soft mist cascaded down in the now confined recess in the wall.
            Claire sighed. "Never waits for me to get in..." she muttered.
            Ignoring the running shower, Claire instead walked towards a bare wall, smooth and metallic.

            "Sometimes it's easier to accept the facade of what is. Or to come to grips with the fact that this home... isn't."

            She pushed a button on the bare wall, and another panel slid aside, revealing a portal, darkness beyond it, stars glinting, and sliding gently past.
            A device glowed, edged by blue lines of light. The small display came on and a music began to play, filling the air. It was just a few guitar chords for several measures, as Claire turned from the starry view to start her day, listening. Then a voice began to sing.

            Last time I talked to you, you were lonely and out of place.
            You were looking down on me, lost out in space...

            "So we're all out here searching, searching for our new home. Outcasts, roaming amongst the stars..."

            The bridge deck was quiet, blinking with lights, dazzling to the uninitiated, but familiar to the crew which worked there, every display in the dim light full of meaning. Everything was smooth, futuristic, alive with screens of graphical illumination. A crew member looked away from the huge veiwport before him, switching his gaze to his display and away from the stars streaming by. Something blinked brightly on his display, and a large man came to stand at his shoulder, waiting in anticipation, but still looking at the stars. The crew member seemed almost bored, reading displays, manipulating controls. Then he looked to the man standing beside him, well practiced in what he had said hundreds of times before.
            "Dropping out of FTL, Captain. We've arrived."
            "Very well, ensign..."
            The ensign shook his head with a smile, wondering why they even bothered with those old titles anymore. The woman's voice continued to narrate.

            "But in the end, I guess what we're really looking for is meaning. Isn't that what any home really is, no matter how long it takes to find it?"

            Suddenly the stars went still outside the ship, going into the unbelievable distances far away, and suddenly the dim interior of the bridge was bathed in a rich, orange light. As one, the whole crew looked up from their stations, watching out the huge veiwport in wonder, in anticipation.
            Space was filled with a sprawling vista, a swarm of beautiful color illuminated by a bright, distant star, glaring in the system the had just arrived in. It was beautiful, a canvas of color. Then, the massive bulk of the ship came into view, gliding serenely, huge beyond belief and sparkling with lights. As it moved towards the sun, orange rays of light shot past it in beams, outlining it there as the sun shone through stellar dust. The giant ship flew effortlessly, turning slightly in the bright swath of color streaming past it.
            "Twelve degrees to starboard ensign.... There it is."
            The shadows shifted on the bridge as the ship turned, and suddenly more displays came to life. There was a planet there, beautiful in the silent star field of space. The music was still playing, a man singing, as the Captain nodded, content. "Start it..."

           We laid underneath the stars, Strung out and feeling brave

            The ensign and the rest of the crew got to work. After a few seconds, invisible energy was criss crossing through space, probing, scanning. The Captain and everyone else seemed to pause with anticipation. Several screens started flashing the same word as they waited, the computer updating.


            Everyone waited, able to do nothing else. Out of nowhere, the woman continued to speak, as the scan continued.

            "But like anytime you try to find answers in life.... the journey is often filled with disappointment."

            Suddenly the screens changed, and all eyes on the bridge switched to them, waiting hopefully. But then, the displays came back with a new word, and as one, the crew seemed to lower their eyes, hope lost.


            Everyone fell back into their chairs in disappointment, even the Captain's shoulders dropped. With a sigh, he looked away from the planet, issuing orders. "Ok. You know the drill. Takes us further out to system edge near the Oort cloud, so we can set up the next hop."
            "Yes, sir." The ensign replied dispiritedly.
            The huge ship was a shadow as it turned, still caressed in the glow of the sun, but now, it seemed almost mournful, as if it were a living thing, looking for something it hadn't found. Sadly it flew towards the edge of the system, leaving the beautiful vista and the planet behind.

           I watched the red orange glow, I watched you float away...

            In her quarters still getting ready for her day, Claire was at the window, sunlight on her face. But then, the ship began to turn away, like it had a hundred times before at a hundred other planets, and then she knew. When her ship information display beeped behind her, she didn't even need to turn around to read it, already knowing what it said. Like everyone else on the ship, she turned from the new planet, forgetting it.
            The woman's voice continued.

            "Still... life goes on. As it must. We all find ways to continue. To make things seem as normal as possible. Even in the most non normal of circumstances, we all find ways to gather comfort, stability, trying to regain those things that remind us of old lives... And yet, some things it seems, never really change."

            Claire was walking down a crowded, street wide hallway on the massive ship, one like so many others. The air was buzzing with activity as she read a small newspad glowing in her hands. Its bright text scrolled with constant information, blinking about the recent strike by the sewage workers union, or new rises in compartment rental costs, the current ship wide political race, or latest holo-entertainments announcements. She sighed, bumped and jostled in the confusion of the main thoroughfare, but more than used to it. Claire paused, everyone else flowing past her as she looked up. But she saw only the ceiling lights of the ship, as her nose tickled with the aromas of 'outdoor' cafes. In the end, the passageway was as big and crowded as any city street.

            Down here in the atmosphere, Garbage and city lights
           You've gone to save your tired soul, You've gone to save our lives...

            Claire was seated in front of an assemblage of people, all of them facing her as she conducted her singles group, doling out advice with every eye in the room on her. She was in her element, laughing with them, smiling. She had seen all those faces so many times, calming fixtures in her life.

            "It always seems that people, no matter where they live, or how long they evolve, will always have the same difficulties, the same yearnings, the same failings, the same problems they have always had through time. Being out here, in a cold void in the middle of nowhere, hasn't changed the flaws that make us human. Or the need to connect with someone, to find someone to love..."

            Suddenly the joviality of the room paused, as the lights dimmed momentarily, as the ship's power shifted. Within a second they could feel the massive ship turning suddenly around them, feel it in the deck beneath their feet, almost imperceptible but there. Claire looked towards the ceiling, recognizing all the telltale signs, all the small indicators. So to her, it was no surprise when suddenly the alarms rang out, indicating the ship was under attack, yet again.

            "Like I said, some things never change. Until... they do."

            All across the hallways of the massive ship, people were running. Crew members were taking battle stations. Lights flashed red on every deck. Suddenly a bridge report came over the intercom, warning of incoming fighters. The ship's artificial A.I. was already working, routing power into weapons, sending massive amounts of energy into shields which began to form invisibly around the ship's hull in the cold of space. Weapon after weapon trained outwards along its surface into the starry depths, away from the streaming glow of the nearby sun as the ship turned to bring more guns to bear.
            In her group, Claire's brow furrowed, slightly worried that they were under attack again. With one last sympathetic glance at her group, she got up from her chair, telling them to go back to their quarters. She, however, was doing no such thing. She was going to the bridge to see what was going on.
            The Captain was tense now, standing behind one of the crewmen as he leaned down and looked into the status display glowing red before both of them, ignoring for a moment the vast veiwport stretching before them. The Captain was all business, terse and too the point as he spoke to her.
            "What's the count..." he asked simply, his brow furrowed the same as Claire's had been.
            "Twenty six, twenty nine, now... still incoming, sir. Twenty seconds out..." The young woman replied.
            The Captain straightened up on the dim bridge, now gazing out the view port at the shining cluster of moving points of light that had appeared in the distance, glowing brighter as they twisted ever closer to the ship.
            "Engage at will, all batteries..."
            Colored shafts of weapons fire arced out like luminous rain, shifting direction to try to catch the incoming fighters. But the vast majority of the shots missed, only a few explosions hitting in the attacking cluster. The small points of light were dodging faster than the guns could track.
           "No joy, Captain. As usual, they're just too fast..."
            "And our squadrons?"
           "Still grounded and under repair after their last attack."
            The Captain nodded to himself, resolve on his hard face. "This is gonna be a rough one."
            In the hallway outside, Claire tried to keep her balance as the massive ship, which had always seemed so unshakable... shook. Alarms blared everywhere. She was almost to the bridge, turning a corner where two sentries suddenly pointed their assault rifles at her head when they spotted her. They quickly lowered their weapons when they saw who it was, waving her frantically through. One thing Claire Allen definitely had, was bridge privileges. The ship shook again, a smaller one this time. Claire tried to keep her pulse down, turning a corner into the darkened bridge, before freezing at what she saw happening in silence outside of the ship.
            On the bridge, everyone seemed calm, the ship occasionally shaking in the quiet. But silent through the veiwport, a fierce battle twisted and sparkled in a maelstrom of light and motion. Claire swallowed. It all seemed so simple below decks, but the ship's A.I. was putting up one hell of a fight outside. The woman seated next to the Captain was counting something down. The Captain still hadn't seen Claire there at the back of the vast room. She moved closer to the veiwport, amazed at the ship's massive firepower, and the ferocity of the battle.
            "Twenty two, twenty one fighters now... Shields down, port quarter. Hull taking damage." The female crewman spoke with a calmness Claire certainly didn't feel as she walked up to them through the dozens of stations across the wide bridge.
            The Captain, however, took it in stride. "Send Damage teams down there. Turn our injured side away from the attack vector and keep up the guns on--... Oh. Hello, honey."
            Claire was amazed at the simple smile the Captain gave her. "Hello, Dad."
            He gazed fondly at her, trying to sound reassuring. It was completely ineffective because of the dizzying battle visible through the veiwport stretching behind him. "Don't worry, honey. We got it under control..."
            Claire's recorded voice continued to speak, the song continuing with her.

            "There's always adversity in life. Always things that challenge you, challenge your perceptions. Always has been, I guess. We still have to deal with challenges to live. And be surprised at our own resilience. But then again, the things challenging us, can be surprised by their own resilience too..."

            "Conn... Contact. We have a second contact, another wave at 241 mark 3--"
            "Damn it all! Shunt our reserves and prepare--" Captain Allen started issuing orders, the tension ratcheting up on the bridge at the new sensor contact. Claire tried to look past the battle, gazing out into the stars, searching for it.

           I turned on the radio, To find you on satellite
           I'm waiting for this sky to fall, I'm waiting for a sign. All we are, is all so far...

            Standing on the bridge, Claire's eyes searched across the stars. And then she spotted it, one stationary light, flaring brighter for a moment. Finally it was moving sideways across the heavens, trailing a sparkling tail like a comet.

            "And then I recognized it. Spotted it for the first time. Felt it deep inside my heart. Something, that until that moment, I thought had only existed in my dreams..."

           (Cpt;"Ship, ID yourself." Laugh on radio, voice answers. "Don't worry children. Daddy's home." New ship dodges, zooms, expert flier, Claire watches from the bridge, adniring skill as ship destroys all attackers.)

           You're falling back to me, You're a star that I can see,
           I know you're out there, Somewhere out there

           (Does victory roll. Voice. :"Did someone call for a rescue, 'cause your rescuer has arrived." They give him permission to land.)

            You're falling out of reach, Defying gravity
           I know you're out there, Somewhere out there

           (Clr admiring flying skills:"I want to meet him" Cpt gives her a look. Smiles. Voice over of Claire, talking about hope. She goes back gets dressed, tries on different shades of hair, including purple. Holo clothes follow on heras she walks around, changing on her body. Maybe a clown suit? Comp:"Sorry Dr. Allem.")

           Hope you remember me when you're home sick and need a change
           I miss your purple hair, I miss the way you taste

           (Claire goes down to hanger bay. Voice over continues about new things in life, tempered with old experiences. She looks at soldiers with rifles, cautious. She's nervous, wanting to meet this person. Checks watch.)

           I know you'll come back someday
           On a bed of nails I'll wait

            (Cpt: "WHAT'S he doing?" as he listens. Beside him Ensign says:"Singing." Cpt:"Singing what?" Ensign:"Italian." Ship flies leisurely, for enjoyment. Cpt. :"Anytime you're ready..." Voice speaks on radio:"Love flying. Can't get enough. Coming in...")

           I'm praying that you don't burn out, Or fade away
           All we are, Is all so far

           (Ship comes into hanger bay, but before touchdown, pulls nose up and fires after burners higher, flames spreading out on deck floor in a very flamboyant showy landing.)

           You're falling back to me, You're a star that I can see
           I know you're out there, Somewhere out there

           (Cockpit comes up. Gaurds raise rifles. Clr watches as cpt talks to smiling man. Cpt looks shocked, then motions Clr over:"Claire, I think this is more your area." Confused by that statement, Clr introduces herself, everyone else gives man wary looks and steps away. Claire VO about things being unexpected. Man smiles at Claire and gives his name. "Hi. Trevor Hale. Cupid, god of love")

           You're falling out of reach
           I know...

           (Music fades, end of page one)